Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."




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Friday, September 29, 2017

ANSWER TO THE POP QUIZ

Kyla Lafleur writes "Oh Bob, your arrogance squeals like nails on a chalkboard between and within the lines of almost everything you write on this blog. But we think you are great anyway.”  This very much reassured me that my readers understand me.

The answer to the Pop Quiz is this:  Each of us has a public face, a front, as we say, which means not only our official persona but the front of our bodies [as opposed to the back or the behind, which is private, covered up, dirty, but secretly enticing and exciting].  We try very hard to communicate the lie that this front is the real person.  But we are always fascinated, when we look at other people, by what lies behind that public face, that front.  Most often, the discovery of what lies behind a person’s front causes us to lower our opinion of the person, to say, disapprovingly or dismissively, “Oh, that front is not what he or she is really like.”  However,  with some people, to whom we accord a special or elevated status, this process of re-assessment is reversed.  When we discover the secret weaknesses or foibles of someone we admire, those imperfections make him or her more human, more accessible, without lowering our opinion at all.

When I speak openly about aspects of my personality or behavior that would ordinarily be kept private so as not to incur disapproval, I am implicitly asserting that I am one of those special people whose private failings amuse us or make the person seem human.  In short, my confession of envy of Rawls’ reputation is an expression of arrogance.


Well, enough about me.  Let’s talk about you.  What do you think of me?

13 comments:

Jordan said...

And so this explanation is itself yet another expression of arrogance? ;)

Robert Paul Wolff said...

of course

F Lengyel said...

The arrogance is justified. But kvelling over offspring? This almost tests a person's patience.

s. wallerstein said...

When you ask "what do you think of me?", I recall King Lear, who in his old age made the mistake of asking his daughters for their real opinion of him and got the answers that such a question deserves.

Jerry Brown said...

I think that if you insist on being perceived as an arrogant prick you should at least be one in a way that I can recognize as arrogant instead of you having to tell me so later. Then I could write nasty comments about you and you could ban me from the blog and I could spend the rest of my days remembering that arrogant philosopher I had the misfortune to read. I am afraid your supposed arrogance is too subtle for me to detect so maybe this is similar to the question about the tree falling in the forest making a noise if no one heard it.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

It's an old stand-up comic's joke! I was mocking my self-involvement. Jeez!

Jerry Brown said...

Ah, the arrogance of constructing a mock quiz for your readers just to inform them their answers were wrong... This is becoming unbearable. :)

F Lengyel said...

My answers weren't wrong. Prof Wolff may be arrogant, but I have a superiority complex.

Jerry Brown said...

LOL! Thank you for that one F Lengyel! You made my day brighter.

Paul Kern said...

Imagine, constructing a blog where everything is about you and what you think... and then thinking out loud, as it were, about talking about yourself as though the tenor of conversation had changed...ahhh the humanity!

David Auerbach said...

Walking into the empty sanctuary of his synagogue, a rabbi was suddenly possessed by a wave of mystical rapture, and threw himself onto the ground before the Ark proclaiming, "Lord, I'm Nothing!"
Seeing the rabbi in such a state, the cantor felt profoundly moved by similar emotions. He too, threw himself down in front of the Ark, proclaiming, "Lord, I'm Nothing!"
Then, way in the back of the synagogue, the janitor threw himself to the ground, and he too shouted, "Lord, "I'm Nothing."
Whereupon, the rabbi turned to the cantor and whispered, "Look who thinks he's Nothing!"

Robert Paul Wolff said...

David, I love it!!! Touche. [accent missing]

tom llewellyn said...

Arrogance in the service of truth is no vice. Humility in the service of lies is no virtue.